Politicians are known for taking their home state sports seriously, although sometimes with something of a sense of humor.
Very often in advance of a Super Bowl, NCAA championship or World Series, members of Congress will place friendly wagers on the outcome of the contest.
Such wagers often serve to highlight goods from the legislator's home state or district, as when Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan placed a bet on the results of the series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees last September.
In the words of a joint press release, the Senators decided to put their "home state's food where their mouth is" pitting New York-made Savor Crown maple syrup against Michigan-made American Spoon fruit preserves.
The pun-laden press releases, savoring the "sweet taste of victory" for example, are generally taken in good fun by winners and losers alike.
But occasionally home-team boostership can backfire on a politician, as President Barack Obama discovered Monday night at a campaign fundraiser in Boston.
Obama, after the customary thanks to local politicians and supporters in attendance, also offered the audience thanks for the trade of infielder Kevin Youkilis, a member of two World Series-winning Red Sox teams, to Obama's beloved Chicago White Sox.
"Finally, Bos, I just want to say thank you for Youkilis," Obama said. "I'm just saying. He's going to have to change the color of his 'sox.'"
He added, "I didn't think I'd get any 'boos' out of here, but … I should not have brought up baseball. I understand. My mistake."
The reaction of the crowd was mixed, shall we say.
Although Obama and the official White House Transcript referred to boos the President received for that remark - quickly replaced by applause and laughter it should be noted - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pushed back at the categorization.
"Anyone who knows Boston and knows the Red Sox, and who was in that room, knows that the preponderance of people shouting in response to what the President said about Kevin Youkilis were saying 'Youk,' not 'Booo' for god's sake," Carney told reporters traveling with Obama on Air Force One on Tuesday.
Carney, himself a Red Sox fan, praised Obama for long-standing decisions not to pander to sports fans of cities he visits, especially at the expense of Obama's own favorite teams.
"It is highly commendable in my view as a Red Sox fan that this President has always refused to pander on sports. He is a White Sox fan. He owns his fandom of the White Sox, and proved that again last night," Carney said.
He added, "I don't think the American people appreciate it when politicians suddenly pretend they're fans of another team just to try to curry favor. The President is very serious about his sports. He will not do that. He will not cross that line."
(For the record, your Whimsy correspondent, using NFL instant replay standards, found the video evidence insufficient to overturn the ruling on the field, err, transcript.)
by RTT Staff Writer
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